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Baul Songs



[Footnote 1: The Bauls are a sect of religious mendicants in Bengal,
unlettered and unconventional, whose songs are loved and sung by the
people. The literal meaning of the word "Baul" is "the Mad."]


This longing to meet in the play of love, my Lover, is not only mine but

Your lips can smile, your flute make music, only through delight in my
love; therefore you are importunate even as I.


I sit here on the road; do not ask me to walk further.

If your love can be complete without mine let me turn back from seeking

I refuse to beg a sight of you if you do not feel my need.

I am blind with market dust and mid-day glare, and so wait, in hopes that
your heart, my heart's lover, will send you to find me.


I am poured forth in living notes of joy and sorrow by your breath.

Mornings and evenings in summer and in rains, I am fashioned to music.

Should I be wholly spent in some flight of song, I shall not grieve, the
tune is so dear to me.


My heart is a flute he has played on. If ever it fall into other hands let
him fling it away.

My lover's flute is dear to him, therefore if to-day alien breath have
entered it and sounded strange notes, let him break it to pieces and strew
the dust with them.


In love the aim is neither pain nor pleasure but love only.

While free love binds, division destroys it, for love is what unites.

Love is lit from love as fire from fire, but whence came the first flame?

In your being it leaps under the rod of pain.

Then, when the hidden fire flames forth, the in and the out are one and all
barriers fall in ashes.

Let the pain glow fiercely, burst from the heart and beat back darkness,
need you be afraid?

The poet says, "Who can buy love without paying its price? When you fail to
give yourself you make the whole world miserly."


Eyes see only dust and earth, but feel with the heart, and know pure joy.

The delights blossom on all sides in every form, but where is your heart's
thread to make a wreath of them?

My master's flute sounds through all things, drawing me out of my lodgings
wherever they may be, and while I listen I know that every step I take is
in my master's house.

For he is the sea, he is the river that leads to the sea, and he is the


Strange ways has my guest.

He comes at times when I am unprepared, yet how can I refuse him?

I watch all night with lighted lamp; he stays away; when the light goes out
and the room is bare he comes claiming his seat, and can I keep him

I laugh and make merry with friends, then suddenly I start up, for lo! he
passes me by in sorrow, and I know my mirth was vain.

I have often seen a smile in his eyes when my heart ached, then I knew my
sorrow was not real.

Yet I never complain when I do not understand him.


I am the boat, you are the sea, and also the boatman.

Though you never make the shore, though you let me sink, why should I be
foolish and afraid?

Is reaching the shore a greater prize than losing myself with you?

If you are only the haven, as they say, then what is the sea?

Let it surge and toss me on its waves, I shall be content.

I live in you whatever and however you appear. Save me or kill me as you
wish, only never leave me in other hands.


Make way, O bud, make way, burst open thy heart and make way.

The opening spirit has overtaken thee, canst thou remain a bud any longer?

Rabindranath Tagore

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